Nine members of the Emerging Leadership Council (ELC) of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) participated in a fly-in on September 21 to Washington, D.C., to visit staffers on The Hill. We represented companies that are FPA members, ranging from raw material suppliers to converters.
The event was successful in amplifying our collective industry voice and creating meaningful connections with our legislators and their staff members.
The fly-in’s main goal was to establish connections between industry members and staffers/legislators while discussing issues affecting flexible packaging. As a $42.9 billion industry with 85,000 employees nationwide, we must engage with legislators to educate them about what would help move our industry forward with their assistance. The three main topics discussed were:
- Viable circularity solutions for all packaging types.
- Fair trade policies that do not pick U.S. winners and losers.
- Harmonization of labeling requirements for recyclability and compostability.
Allison Holzshu, vice president of product management for flexible films at Berry Global and an active ELC member, says the fly-in was “an eye-opening experience.”
“Our industry representatives from all parts of the value chain connected with more than a dozen staffers on The Hill and discussed a broad array of topics,” Holzshu says. “We had meaningful dialogue about the need for flexible recycling infrastructure, the latest innovative designs for recycling, how advanced recycling can be a game changer, and the importance of harmonization of the green guides. Our audience was curious and thoughtful, but like many of us a few years ago, they were just beginning to see what’s possible for flexible packaging.”
She says there is a huge opportunity for the industry and individual companies.
“Pending legislation could shape the sustainability conversation. We must provide the much-needed perspective on the importance of flexible packaging and all of the levers available to bring forth a circular economy,” Holzshu adds. “Berry Global’s More Together approach best articulates this strategy. Together, with our customers and supply chain partners, we can bring circular and sustainable solutions to the market by fueling our collective passions for our future.”
She says that sharing information with lawmakers—such as successes, innovation road maps, infrastructure needs, and the need for consistent guidelines—provides them with a clear vision for flexible packaging.
“I left Washington feeling energized, hopeful, and so fortunate to have represented our industry and its bright future,” Holzshu continues. “We want to thank each ELC member and their associated companies for their time and dedication to our first fly-in. Your abundance of enthusiasm and support made this event possible. The outcomes of this fly-in will continue to propel the flexible packaging industry forward, allowing us to have ongoing conversations with our legislators surrounding the topics that affect our industry.”
She adds that staff members at FPA and Capitoline Consulting, LLC were integral in making the fly-in a success.